Saturday, January 2, 2010
It was evening on December 4 when the contractions began, when all my well-laid wait-plans fled in the early groaning, the beginning of labor - the initial birth pains. The hope became immediate, shocking, shivering into gasping fear painting stark real out of two-weeks-early. I grasped at calm, at warm, at comfort.
I wasn't ready.
Two and half years before, on a weekend in early July, the same pains had come. I had forgotten. I joked then about something that went deep, the head-patting for the novice, the not-knowing, the hope deferred.
I wasn't ready. But I didn't know it then.
Then, I ran out of things to say, growing quiet, feeling deep.
This time, I kept sharing, processing, sorting, feeling louder in the "wait" than I had, more familiar with it than I had been, observing, aging.
The contractions that had ended came again nine days later, and I willed them to continue, willed them to stop or go, just to do something. I dreaded the labor this time - knowledge was more a burden than a blessing - but still it had to come. There was no other way. I slept and woke and slept and woke, grasping the rest I knew I'd need at the end of this advent silence.
I remembered and clung: Piper had come, my little girl emerging just before sunset into the room where she had been conceived, into my arms with her small cry of surprise at the sudden change.
Bredon would be born at home too.
I reached for God, grasping blind into black, desperate to feel the nearness I had known during my labor with Piper, feeling acute 400 years of silence in thirteen days' time.
So this was what it meant to need a Great Light, to long for a Word timely breathed into dust, to ache for a promised life.
I wasn't ready. But oh, how I needed him to come.
Him. The pronouns mingled and mixed and matched, God-Him, Bredon-him, Christ-Him. I asked for God's presence, and He gave Immanuel, "God with us", and the Gospel came alive again to me, for how could God have come more near to me than in the Person of my Soul-Rescuer?
The contractions didn't stop after Sunday, December 14th. They came without pomp, working behind the scenes of our daily life, sporadic reminders of the babe almost here, of the more intense pain to come. I tried not to notice them.
(Image © Informal Moments Photography)